Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport has recently been plagued by a variety of problems ranging from fears over on-time completion of major construction before the coming APEC Summit, chronic delays by Lion Air flights operating from Bali and protests by airport traders seeking commercial space in the renovated facility.
Adding to this mix of trials and tribulations, hundreds of airport employees working as cleaners went on strike Friday, September 6, 2013, marching on the offices of PT Angkasa Pura I, the airport’s managers, demanding payment of their salaries.
Bali Post says reports gathered from the scene of the demonstrations indicate 200 cleaners joined the strike, claiming their monthly salaries had not been paid. PT Angkasa Pura responded, explaining a temporary cash flow problem necessitated salaries be paid one week later than planned. Protestors are also accused airport management of having failed to keep promises to pay cleaners the minimum wage levels mandated by the Province of Bali. The workers claim they are being paid at less than the monthly minimum set for the Badung Regency of Rp. 1.4 million (US$127).
One employee told The Bali Post: “How can it be that our wages are always paid late. Our wages are below the minimum wage level and come late every month.”
The technical manager for PT Angkasa Pura I subsidiaries, Ketut Armika, commented separately, confirming the protests by the cleaners. At the same time, he denied that the protests were connected with the late payment of salaries, adding: “Everything’s been taken care of. It’s not correct that the wages have been paid late. It’s not true.”
Armika suggested that the protest by cleaners was actually based on a desire to obtain clarification on their work zones. He said individual workers were unclear on their specific area of responsibility. He also rejected claims that workers were being paid below stipulated minimum wage levels.
Said Armika: “The salary is in accordance with the minimum for Badung Regency, which is Rp. 1.4 million. Everything has been sorted out. They’re just asking for clarification on their work zones.”
A differing explanation was given by the general manager of Angkasa Pura I, Purwanto, speaking at a press conference to discuss plans to inaugurate the renovated airport on September 12, 2013. Purwanto confirmed the strike by cleaning workers at the airport, blaming the action on the failure of a third party to pay wages on schedule. He explained that PT Angkasa Pura I outsource the cleaning of the airport to a third party contractor.
The airport’s manager said he intends to seek an explanation from the cleaning service operator and, if warranted, issue a warning. He said that if t is proven that the cleaning service operator was, in fact, paying salaries below minimum wage levels this fact could be used use to fire the cleaning contractor.
The massive renovation and rebuilding of the Bali airport, done at a cost of Rp. 2.8 trillion, will be inaugurated by the President on September 12, 2013 at a special ceremony at the airport.
The redesigned airport has been constructed to handle 25 million passengers per year. The current annual flow-through of passengers is put at 14 million passengers.
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